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The British Driving Society
East Sussex

DRIVE REVIEWS

 IMPROMPTU DRIVES

We want to try and plan some impromptu pleasure drives throughout the year which are in addition to drives already planned.  If you would like to be informed of any drives that may be arranged during the year please send your email address to Pearl Hudson at pahudson@aol.com.

We are also looking for more venues to hold BDS drives, so if you would like to host a drive can you also please let Pearl know. Even if you can only cater for 2 or 3 turnouts it would be good to be able to offer more drives to our members.

 

Springfield Farm, Rushlake Green Drive Sunday 7th April 2019

It was a cloudy day with no wind for the seven turnouts who took part in the drive from Springfield Farm.  This is a particularly lovely venue as there is plenty of hard standing on which to unbox.  The owners of the farm have very recently increased the size of their yard and we all made good use of the space.

 Pearl Hudson had planned three new routes of 6, 7 or 12 miles and provided maps and directions as usual.  Most of the participants opted for the 6 mile route and 2 went all out and did the 12 miles.  All thoroughly enjoyed the drive which afforded a change of scenery as the routes passed through woodland and farmland.

 

Havenswold Drive 10th March 2019

This drive has to go down in history as one of the windiest drives we have ever held.  One of our members was delayed as her road was blocked by a neighbour’s shed which had been blown away and had landed on the road.  Two members decid3d not to come as it was too windy but despite the unpleant weather condition we did have nine turnouts and one rider.  We were very pleased to welcome Sue Nebbeling from Surrey area and a new member from East Sussex, Sarah Otway.

 The Havenswold drive encompasses the long 3 mile byway through Abbots Wood but only two members decided to do it.  All of the others went on a shorter country road drive.  We had delayed the departure in the hope that the wind would die down a bit which it did for a short while.  It was only when we were returning to Havenswold that the wind started to gust again.

Everyone was pleased to have arrived back safely and thoroughly enjoyed the buffet refreshments provided by our host Dick Tanner.

This drive definitely blew the winter cobwebs away.

 

Pevensey Drive, Sunday 16th September 2018

Lynda Baker-Beall very kindly hosted another drive and we had 6 turnouts attend including members from Kent and West Sussex.

The Autumn weather was glorious.  This venue affords several routes.  Four turnouts went together in convoy led by Jane Parsons with Ben and did the 12.9 mile route which crosses the centre of the Pevensey marshes.  The views here are spectacular.  The other two turnouts went inland and did shorter drives.

Everyone arrived back in good time to enjoy a sumptuous buffet lunch generously provided by Lynda. 

 

Firle Park Lewes, Sunday 9th September 2018

We were very fortunate again this year to be allowed to hold a drive from Firle and our thanks are extended to Lord and Lady Gage for giving us permission to access Firle Park.  11 turnouts took part with members from Kent, Surrey and West Sussex as well as East Sussex.  

We unboxed in Firle Park itself and drove past Firle Place and through the picturesque village of Firle before going off road on the Old Coach Road by-way.  Extensive maintenance had been carried out on the by-way since last year and we were able to traverse its entire length.  This took us all along the bottom of the South Downs past the original coaching inn (now a tea house) to Berwick where we turned round and came back, arriving back into Firle Park though a private entrance.  Two of our members felt their ponies would not be able to do the full 10 miles and were able to take a shorter route of 5 miles which still took them off road and past the old coaching inn and back into Firle Park.

 

Havenswold Drive, Sunday 29th July 2018

After several weeks of wall to wall sunshine the weather finally broke on the Sunday of our Havenswold drive.  Of the 10 turnouts that had booked, only 4 turned up and braved the rainy weather.

This drive is particularly lovely at this time of the year, as access to three interconnecting well maintained by-ways gives a lovely countryside drive between hedgerows and through ancient woodland.  The drive, although a bit damp, was still very enjoyable and everyone arrived safely back to enjoy a buffet lunch kindly provided by our host Dick Tanner.

 

Framfield Drive, Saturday 21st July 2018

Sue Page hosted a lovely summer evening drive from Framfield.  We had intended to incorporate a drive around New Place which would have given us a 10 mile off road drive.  However, due to the hot weather and the fact that the ground would have been too hard we decided to go for a shorter 6 mile country road drive instead.  It was a very tranquil and peaceful drive around the Sussex lanes.

There were only four turnouts which was a little disappointing but understandable as it was too hot for many especially if they had some distance to travel.  Everyone had a very enjoyable and relaxed drive and returned to some very welcome refreshments provided by Sue.

 

Pevensey Drive, Sunday 1st July 2018

Our thanks go to Lynda Baker-Beall for again hosting this drive from Little Downash Farm.

Eight turnouts attended this drive on what must have been one of the hottest days of the year.  It was lovely to have members from Kent and Surrey drive along with us too.

There were five routes available most members took the 7 mile route around the pretty Sussex village of Hankham.  Another member took a shorter route of 5 miles and one other member took the route that went across the Pevensey marshes and around the hamlet of Flowers Green.

Everyone had a lovely drive and returned to a wonderful spread of refreshments kindly provided by Lynda.

 

Summer Solstice Evening Drive, 21st June 2018

This event was first held last year and as it proved popular we repeated it again this year.  Golden Cross Equestrian was the venue and there were nine turnouts.  The weather was cooler than last year and that made it better for the horses.  Everyone arrived at 6.30 pm and drove off individually or in small groups.  There was a choice of three fairly flat routes.

This is a particularly lovely drive as part of it is off-road down a byway which can only be accessed during the summer months.  The rest of the route is through country lanes and the picturesque historic village of Ripe, which was at one time owned by King Harold who was killed in 1066 at the battle of Hastings.

 

Chiddingly/Muddles Green Drive, Sunday 3rd June 2018

As a result of having to postpone our area show, originally scheduled for Sunday 3rd June, we decided to hold an impromptu drive.  Copford Farm was a new venue kindly suggested by Claire Cousens.  It was an excellent venue, which not only afforded safe parking in the shade of some trees but also was well placed for a drive along leafy quiet lanes.

This drive offered up 5 routes of varying length from 11.5 miles down to 6 miles so that everyone was catered for.  All of the routes were along quiet country lanes and passed through the two picturesque villages of Chiddingly and Muddles Green.

We had eight turnouts, two of which came from West Sussex, and we would have had another three had they not had to cancel for various reasons.

Everyone had an enjoyable, safe drive and it is hoped that we will be able to repeat this again.

 

Maynards Fruit Farm Drive, Ticehurst Sunday 13th May 2018

This was a new venue for a drive and consisted of a short road drive of 2.2 miles and a drive around the 60 acre fruit farm of 1.8 miles.  Participants could choose to do either or both as many times as they wished.  Seven turnouts took part including one from West Sussex.  Everyone was given a map and instructions and there was an aerial photograph of the fruit farm showing the selected route around the fields, which missed out any boggy areas.  This tested the orienteering skills of the grooms.  The horses had a good workout too as the farm was hilly in places.  The fruit farm was something different and very enjoyable too.  We would like to thank Cathy Millard who very kindly arranged this venue.

 

Springfield Farm, Rushlake Green Drive Sunday 29th April 2018

We had 10 turnouts for this drive, which was a new venue for 2018.  We were pleased to welcome members from West Sussex and Kent along with some newcomers for East Sussex.  Most participants parked up along the expansive driveway with only three chancing the field.  Fortunately the field was dry enough so no one needed to be pulled out.

There was a choice of 3 routes available of varying mileage and difficulty but everyone decided to do the 8.5 mile route and set off in three groups at different times.  Maps and clear directions showing photos of junctions were provided to all grooms.

The route was hilly in places but the views were outstanding at the highest point on the route.  Everyone arrived safely back to Springfield Farm.  Our thanks go to our hosts Alastair and Vicky King for allowing us to park.

 

Havenswold Drive Sunday 11th March 2018

There were five turnouts and one rider for our first drive of the year from the popular Havenswold venue.   It had been raining the night before and after the rain from the previous week the off road tracks were very wet but still hard under foot in most places.  A warm welcome was extended to a member from Kent and three new members from East Sussex.

This is a lovely drive, even on a wintry day, and nearly half of the drive is off-road.  The rain dried up and all the turnouts remained dry.  The sun made an appearance later in the morning and it felt very springlike.

Jane Bellingham set out in the lead with Reagan with Dick Tanner leaving last with Gypsy.  On the way back (due to taking a shortcut) Dick and Gypsy led the way home with Jane and Reagan bringing up the rear.

Everyone arrived safely back to enjoy the wonderful spread of refreshments provided by Dick Tanner and his wife Mary. 

 

New Years Eve Drive Sunday 31st December 2017

Our usual New Years Day drive from Golden Cross, held in conjunction with the Oaks Driving Club, was rescheduled to New Years eve and held as a BDS event alone.

It was very cold and there were five turnouts for the 5 mile drive.  There was some torrential driving rain which most turnouts who took part early on escaped.  It was however a quiet drive will very little traffic and all turnouts arrived safely back.

 

Windsor Park Drive Sunday 1st October 2017

Berkshire area had invited us again this year to their lovely drive in Windsor Great Park.  Several of our members attended.  Torrential rain had meant that the route had to be altered slightly from last year but it took us through some beautiful areas of the Park and close to the monument of George III.  As before, at the end of the drive all whips received a lovely rosette and all equines were given a carrot.  Thank you Martin Pink for organising another enjoyable and successful drive at Windsor.

 

Diamond Anniversary Drive, Firle Park Sunday 10th September 2017

Our diamond anniversary drive was held at Firle Park by kind permission of Lord and Lady Gage.  There were 10 turnouts in total including members from Surrey and Berkshire.

Torrential rain two days earlier had flooded several parts of the Old Coach road byway making it impassable.  So we changed the route to a 5 mile drive around Firle Park, Firle village and part of the original coaching road which was not flooded and fortunately enabled us to pass the old coaching inn which is now a tea house. 

All of the horses were impeccably behaved.  Some cattle had been put out into the Park the day before and had congregated under some trees next to the path.  However, all of the horses passed them without incident. 

On the way back, three of the turnouts decided to stop off at the pub in Firle village and it was lovely to see the horses and carriages side by side outside the pub as they would have done in times gone by.

The plan was to do the 5 mile drive followed by a short break and then repeat the drive.  However during the short break when Lord and Lady Gage came down from Firle Place to meet everyone and for Lady Gage to present commemorative diamond anniversary rosettes to all whips and grooms, the heavens opened up yet again.  So the drive was not repeated.  It is hoped that next year we will be able to complete the full length of the Old Coach road and will not be thwarted by the weather.  That said it was still a thoroughly enjoyable and picturesque drive.

 

Fletching Picnic Drive and Treasure Hunt Sunday 3rd September 2017

 There were only four turnouts for the Picnic Drive and Treasure Hunt held in Sue Page’s lovely woods at Fletching.  This was rather a shame since members asked for this type of event last year.  The event started with an excellent 10 mile drive which wove its way through unpopulated green lanes that meandered over the rolling Sussex countryside.  After the drive followed a treasure hunt in the woods.  Members drove around a designated route looking for clues and collecting treasures.  It was a test of the horses’ obedience after a long drive to stand still while grooms dismounted to collect the clues.  Over a picnic lunch the clues were put together to name a piece of the harness.  Sounds really easy but no one got the correct answer although there were lots of suggestions as to what the solution was.  Thank you Sue for your efforts in providing a thrilling drive, a thought provoking treasure hunt and a lovely venue for lunch.

 

Pevensey Drive Sunday 27th August 2017

As we were not able to organise a drive through Sheffield Park as advertised, Linda Baker-Beall kindly offered her premises as a meeting place for another drive across Pevensey marshes.  We had held an earlier drive at the beginning of July and as there were several routes available members who had done one route wanted to know what the other routes were like and so this gave them the opportunity to drive a different route.

It was a very warm day for the six turnouts who attended.  Once again Chris Grist from Surrey area joined us with her delightful miniature horse Sophie.  Gina Jeffery led the start of the drive with Beau with participants peeling off to do their chosen route out of the 5 possible routes available.  All participants were equipped with map, directions and detailed instructions. 

Everyone had a fabulous and safe drive and all returned to a fantastic spread of sandwiches, cake and biscuits very kindly provided by Linda Baker-Beall.

 

Havenswold Drive Sunday 23rd July 2017

Overnight rain gave way to a warm sunny day with a cooling breeze to help the horses in their work.  

There were 8 turnouts which were accompanied by 1 rider.  There is always a warm welcome for BDS members from other areas and this time we were pleased to see two members from Surrey BDS.

Two of the turnouts set out on their own with the other six following along altogether.  Sue Page led the way with her pony Lottie and as usual Lottie set up a good pace.  Our host Dick Tanner with Amber took the lead part way through the drive and kept up a good pace for the remainder of the drive.

This is a lovely drive and we are very fortunate that during the summer we can incorporate three off-road byways.

Once again we were delighted to an excellent venue at Havenswold, Hailsham.  Dick Tanner and his wife Mary made all the participants very welcome and put on a wonderful spread after the drive.

 

Pevensey Drive Sunday 2nd July 2017

Little Downash Farm was the meeting place for the start of this drive.  We all parked up in a field where we could safely unbox.

Nine turnouts arrived at the venue and we were very pleased to welcome 3 turnouts from Surrey BDS.

There were five routes available ranging from 12.9 miles to 5 miles and everything in between.  All grooms were given a detailed map and instructions and all but the shortest route was driven.

The longest route took participants on a tarmac road which crossed the middle of the Pevensey marshes where they were able to enjoy a full 360 degree view of the marsh.  The other routes took members away from the marsh and up into the Sussex countryside with outstanding views of the South Downs.

Everyone seemed to have enjoyed whichever drive they had done.  The only negative comments were that they all wanted to do the route they hadn't done.  Perhaps next time.

Many thanks to our host Lynda Baker-Beal for letting us use her excellent facilities at Little Downash Farm.

 

Summer Solstice Evening Drive Wednesday 21st June 2017

Following on from the hottest day of the year so far, what could be more perfect than an evening drive on a warm summer evening.

There were three routes available ranging from 8.5 miles, 7 miles and 6 miles.  The seven turnouts started out at 7.00pm  in the evening from Golden Cross Equestrian Centre and followed along the quiet country road down a long no through road and out onto a by-way all in the shade under cover of trees and woodland.  The routes were all fairly flat with little hill work for the horses.

Everyone arrived back safely by about 9.00pm.  So still had time to get their horses home before it got dark.  it was a very peaceful and pleasant drive.

 

Framfield Drive Sunday 14th May 2017

Early rain gave way to warm spring sunshine for the 4 turnouts and one rider.  Jane Bellingham brought her two Clydesdale cobs and drove them as a pair.  This was their debut outing on a BDS drive and they behaved perfectly.

This was going to include some off-road tracks but as there had been a lot of rain the previous week the off road route around New Place was not chosen by any of our members. Instead the four turnouts who attended all decided to keep to the country lanes.

It was warm and sunny and the picturesque route wound its way through farmland and through hamlets with outstanding views of the Sussex countryside. There was even a spectacular watermill en route where you could look down some 20 feet into the water below.

The drive was not without its exciting moments as three enormous tractors were encountered. However all the horses were very well behaved and passed them without incident.

Everyone arrived safely back to Sue Page's yard for some tea and biscuits.

 

Havenswold Drive Sunday 12th March 2017

This drive was previously arranged to go from Framfield but as the ground was too wet it was deemed unsuitable for parking and therefore it was rearranged to the popular Havenswold venue.  

There were only five turnouts for this drive accompanied by two riders.  This was probably due to the weather forecasters forecasting torrential rain for the whole of the day.  However, it was dry all day so a good drive was had by all.  The by-ways were firm underfoot despite some earlier rain in the week and the drivers were able to safely canter their horses through Abbots Wood.

Everyone arrived back to some hot refreshments provided by Dick and Mary.

 

East Hoathly Drive Sunday 6th February 2017

A drizzly day greeted the eight turnouts for the East Hoathly Drive. We were also joined by members from Kent and Surrey. 

The eight carriages were accompanied by 3 riders and there was a broad spectrum of horse breeds represented, from a miniature horse and Shetland through to other native pony breeds up to Clydesdale crosses. 

There were 3 routes available ranging from 4, 7 and 10 miles and participants were given detailed maps and directions. Some members set off in small groups and others went on their own. Everyone arrived back safely and all arrived back at more or less the same time despite the difference in drive mileage. Everyone had a safe and thoroughly enjoyable drive.

 

Havenswold Drive Saturday 21st January 2017

This drive was held as part of Dick Tanner's birthday celebrations.  The sun shone and it was a clear bright day but it was cold.  The thermometer only measured 2C.  However some intrepid members turned out.  There were six turnouts and two riders.  The dry weather did leave the paths through the woods dry and apart from a couple of icy patches the going was good.  Several members were able to canter their horses and give them a bit of a work out along the by-ways.

As the horses warmed up the whips and grooms cooled down and we were all happy to get back for some hot refreshments provided by Dick and Mary.  Pearl had brought two birthday cakes one of which she had decorated with a model of Dick driving his horse Bob to his trolley.  See the photos on the gallery.

 

Havenswold Drive 16th October 2016

There were only six turnouts for this lovely drive as some early rain had deterred some members from attending.  However by the time everyone had arrived the sun had come out and stayed out for the rest of the day.   We were pleased to welcome some members from the Kent area and a couple of members brought a sprightly pair of British Spot ponies who made light work of the 10 mile drive completing it in record time.

Nearly everyone did the full 10 miles taking in the Abbots wood by-way.  This is particularly lovely at this time of year as the trees change into their golden mantel.  Many members took advantage of this secluded track and were able to safely canter their horses.

Everyone enjoyed the drive and the chat and refreshments afterwards which were generously provided by the hosts Dick and Mary Tanner.

 

Sheffield Park Drive 27th August 2016

It was a very hot day that greeted us for the second of our drives through the lovely Sheffield Park Estate.  Again members from both Surrey and East Sussex turned up in their "Sunday Best" to make a spectacle for the visitors to the Park.  There were 8 turnouts in all, ranging from a diminutive miniature horse right up to a lovely pair of Clydesdales.

The drive was longer than before which was appreciated by our members and several of them completed the route more than once.  It also had its hazards such as a flock of sheep that had to be negotiated through and there was also a gate which required the groom to get down and open to let the carriage through and close afterwards.  Those that practiced for their Le Trec had no problem with this obstacle.

As on the previous drive in July, there were two drives one at 11.00am and the second at 14.30pm.  This was so that a spectacle was provided to the visitors of the Park both before and after lunch.

Everyone had an enjoyable time and all received a rosette as thanks for the effort made and as a memento of the day.

Our thanks go to the Sheffield Park staff who had not only provided ample refreshments but had also planned a lovely route taking in the original carriageway as planned by Capability Brown, through cool woodland and out onto the scenic downland.